This week our executive director of the code school, Jessica Mitsch, was chosen to be the News & Observer’s “Tar Heel of the Week.” In an interview, Jessica discussed her role leading national partnerships for The Iron Yard, supporting the school’s alumni and how she is helping foster diversity in the tech industry.
Read an excerpt of Jessica’s interview below:
Jessica Mitsch recently quit using the term “guys.”
The Raleigh native and executive with The Iron Yard, a training school for software developers, adopted the term so that she could quit using “y’all” when addressing groups outside the South.
But she felt the sting it can carry in a field dominated by men when a young entrepreneur described to her what kind of “guys” he hoped to hire.
“He wasn’t using the word “guys” as a colloquial phrase for people,” she says in a post on the InfoWorld blog. “When he sat down to envision who he was going to hire, he thought ‘guys’ – that is, young adult men.”
As executive director for the Iron Yard coding school, Mitsch’s job is to forge national partnerships, support the school’s alumni and help increase the diversity of its students – putting her on the front lines of a national effort to bring more women into tech-based careers.
Before attending The Iron Yard and landing a job as a full stack junior developer at Apex Systems working for AT&T, Josiah DuBose worked in another type of technical role – as a motorcycle technician.
In addition to his work, Josiah was also pursuing a computer science major in a joint program between Wake Tech Community College and North Carolina State University. But after a friend who worked in the tech industry introduced him to The Iron Yard, he decided to change course. “The Iron Yard seemed like a quicker track to get employed as a developer than a traditional four year degree,” Josiah said.
So he began to research The Iron Yard’s reputation online, talking to people he knew in the Durham tech industry and going to the campus to get to know the staff. Ultimately, Josiah decided this was the best option for him to get the education he needed to pursue the career he wanted. In October 2016, Josiah enrolled in the Back-End Engineering with Python course at The Iron Yard’s Durham campus.
During his Front-End Engineering course at The Iron Yard in Durham, Aaron Newcomer tracked his experience, successes and failures on his blog, Aaroninbeta. Now, more than six months after graduation and working full-time as a front-end developer, Aaron continues to document his progress in the industry and share his hard-won advice with others who are just beginning their journey learning to code.
In Aaron’s latest video on his YouTube channel, Aaron in Beta, he discusses some of the pros and cons he experienced learning to code in a code bootcamp setting. Check out “My Coding Bootcamp Experience” below and tune in to Aaron’s new videos every Tuesday and Thursday!
Code schools are adjusting their course catalogues in efforts to make NC more competitive against rival tech regions.
Read the full article, including an interview with The Iron Yard’s Durham campus director, Dana Calder, in ExitEvent.
The basement of a once–abandoned tobacco factory may seem to be an odd place to teach the most cutting edge computer technology, but that’s where The Iron Yard, a computer coding academy in Durham, North Carolina, makes its home. It holds classes in the basement of the American Tobacco Campus, a renovated multi-use industrial site where the American Tobacco Factory once manufactured famous cigarette brands like Lucky Strike and Liggett & Myers.
Yet, The Iron Yard’s location does have a certain sense of continuity or symmetry to it. The industrial chic décor, with cement walls and floors, pipes hanging from the ceiling, and glass walls for every room, immediately brings to mind the feeling that this is a place of work,befitting a for-profit school dedicated to providing students with no-frills, nose-to-the-grindstone training intended to lead to a highly skilled job in just a few short months.
Read the full Pope Center for Higher Education Policy article here.
For 12 weeks, our students put their heart and soul into learning how to code. At the end of each cohort, we celebrate the culmination of their immersive training and all they have accomplished at Demo Day. Demo Day gives each of our grads the opportunity to show off the applications they’ve built to prospective employers, community leaders and peers after weeks of hard work and preparation.
On July 13, our Raleigh and Durham campuses joined forces to host one of our largest Demo Day events to date. Not only did the event draw a full house of leaders and advisory board members from the Triangle area, it brought together more than 20 members of The Iron Yard team to support our students in-person. We consider it a privilege that our students choose us to be a part of their journey and watching them share their projects with the community is a powerful reminder of the why we love coming to work everyday.
One exciting benefit of learning to code is gaining the technical skills to solve real world problems. We love it when our students find they are able to tackle problems they faced in previous professional positions or in their personal lives using what they’ve learned in our courses. Julio Cardoza, a recent graduate from the Data Science course in Durham, NC, is an amazing example of someone who leveraged his new-found skills to solve an issue he faced as an Uber driver.
We love his take on life at The Iron Yard and are impressed with how he has learned to embrace failures and celebrate wins. We asked Aaron if we could share his thoughts here and he was happy to pass on what he’s learned to future Iron Yarders. Read his advice below, in his own words: